The game kicks off in the back of a bus as four protagonists travel across an post-apocalyptic landscape in search of a fabled vault. It’s a stylish opening with some clever editing that sets the tone for the rest of the game. After arriving at the small town of Fyrestone, players must choose one of the four characters to play as. The typical ‘brute-force soldier’ character is here, called Brick – ideal for players looking to dish out serious damage. Mordecai is a hunter who specialises in snipers and pistols. Roland is a soldier character who can heal himself and other players, plus deploy turrets. And finally, Lilith is a mage-type character who can enter an alternative dimension to move faster and damage enemies on exit. The choice of character doesn’t impact gameplay to the extent that we hope – there’s no change in storyline and the game follows the same level progression. The choice of character ultimately decides whether players deal damage to enemies from afar or up close. As with most MMO titles, though, it’s also possible to reset the character choice at any point in favour of another.
After stepping off the bus for the first time, players are greeted by a small wheeled robot called Claptrap. Voiced with charm and flair, he introduces the basics of gameplay and gives a brief tour of Fyrestone. This is a hub-style town, where players will encounter various quests from the locals that require a number of enemies to be killed or items to be fetched – typical MMO fare. Along the way, loot can be found from both fallen foes and within the environment, and it’s here that the game shows its true calling. By collecting weapons, money, health vials and spare parts from around the game world, it’s possible to create an endless variety of weapons.
Being released more than a year after the PC and console versions, the game includes four expansion packs that add some real value (see ‘In detail’ below). The sheer amount of content on offer makes this a worthwhile purchase for any Mac gamer with a speedy system. Borderlands has become a cult hit on PC and console systems since its release, and for good reason – it’s an intriguing and original title that merges the best of first-person shooting with loot-drop RPG and MMO aspects.